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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Texarkana AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Texarkana AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Texarkana Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Texarkana AR. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Classes

Texarkana AR student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the comfort of their Texarkana AR homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Texarkana AR residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Texarkana Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Texarkana AR school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Texarkana AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Texarkana AR schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Texarkana AR schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Texarkana home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.